The traditional role of the CMO was to create awareness about brands and products through several offline communication channels.
Traditionally, in order to accomplish this, CMOs have been focusing on the creation of communication campaigns distributed through above the line and below the line media. CMOs were responsible for ensuring consistency of brand image across all media with the eventual aim of driving market shares and sales
However, with the dawn of digital advertising, the traditional role of the CMO has been constantly changing.
Compared to their traditional roles, CMOs are now responsible for a growing number of functions. They are viewed within the organization as the representative of the customer, rather than a representative of a brand.
The explosion in technology and digital media has changed the way consumers communicate. For CMOs to stay relevant – and keep their brands relevant – they must be able to meet consumers on the platforms they prefer to communicate. If the CMO has any hope to influence the consumer decision, they must be ahead of the technological curve and be able to meet their audience where they spend the most time.
In many industries, digital platforms have blurred the lines between marketing and sales. Consumers can buy directly from a website or app. Rather than just existing as a marketing tool, a website or app has now become the place where consumers make purchases. Therefore, marketing teams can drive sales directly, rather than focusing only on building brand awareness.
Keeping a consistent brand image across the different digital channels demands consistent content creation. Content creation needs to be aligned with brand values, product benefits, and brand story. Exceptional creative teams, content creation at scale, and digital advertising all help a brand stay ahead of their competition. A well thought and timely executed content strategy can ensure a brand’s success. The CMO must be able to guide a brand through this journey.
Previously, it would have been capital intensive to attempt to penetrate new markets with large scale above the line campaigns. However, digital marketing makes campaigning in international countries a lot easier. Therefore, the CMO is now also forced to balance international with local objectives.
As we move into the future and technology continues to advance, new consumer behaviors will emerge. Trends, like purchasing from voice assistants, using smart appliances, and having ubiquitous internet access, will continue to provide an opportunity to the forward-thinking CMO.
To effectively capitalize on emerging trends, the CMO of the future will be responsible for:
All these responsibilities can be thought of as a blessing or a curse. The new breed of CMO will be required to be digitally savvy, innovative, creative, good with numbers, and eager to understand data. A new type of CMO must be comfortable with handling complexity. They must also be able to pick the right partners to help them strategize and execute a wide agenda.
As CMOs are busy upgrading their skills, there will be plenty of other professionals who will seek to take on some of the CMOs responsibilities:
The role of the CMO will continue to go through innumerable changes as the world evolves. However, the significance of the CMO will increase in all organizations. As no person can be an expert in every field, the successful CMOs of the future will be the ones who set up competent teams to ensure their success.